Addressable TV is a new category of advertising that enables broadcasters, programmers and advertisers to segment TV audiences and show ads tailored to each audience. Ads are dynamically inserted into content via cable, satellite and set-top boxes (STB). The goal of addressable TV is to help combine the reach and user experience of TV advertising with the data, targeting and measurement of digital.
For the purposes of this post, addressable TV refers to utilizing these techniques to enhance linear TV and traditional TV video on demand (VOD). Check out our CTV masterclass if you wish to learn more about CTV and OTT.
What is HbbTV?
In the EU, addressable TV is being tackled through the HbbTV initiative. Adoption is growing in a number of countries and is currently available on 44mm devices worldwide.
“Hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) is a global initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery of entertainment services to consumers through connected TVs, set-top boxes and multiscreen devices. The HbbTV specification is developed by industry leaders to improve the video user experience for consumers by enabling innovative, interactive services over broadcast and broadband networks. The specification uses elements of existing specifications from other standards including OIPF, CEA, DVB, MPEG-DASH and W3C.” – HbbTV.org
To function properly, HbbTV requires the TV manufacturer to incorporate the technology and the broadcaster to leverage it. Thankfully, HbbTV is easy to integrate and today, most new TVs in the EU are compatible and most free-to-air broadcasters have incorporated it as well. The technology has truly “crossed the chasm” and has become mainstream.
What does HbbTV enable?
HbbTV allows broadcasters to enhance the user experience through “Red Button” applications. These mini-applications pop up on the screen and the user can engage with them by pressing a red button on their remote. The possibilities are seemingly endless, but in general, the applications allow a more individualized experience such as:
- On-demand or time-shifted video without a STB
- Displaying dynamic information such as weather or sports scores
- Adjusting content for a particular screen size or audio capability
- Adjusting content based on the environment, such as background noise
- Adjusting the subject matter based on the person (i.e. personal preferences, accessibility, duration, etc.)
- Allowing full interactivity with the environment on the screen, such as exploring a stadium or concert venue
- Allowing for new ad formats
This allows broadcasters to curate experiences and increase engagement and interaction from the user. Beyond the benefits to the user, there are significant benefits for broadcasters and advertisers, which we will go into in future posts.
What’s next for HbbTV?
HbbTV is a common standard in Europe and we expect that penetration will only continue to grow in this market. Outside of Europe in markets such as Australia, similar standards are being adopted and beginning to gain traction. Moreover, the tools and processes that the industry relies on to buy, sell and create this new ad inventory still have room to evolve and to shift the way consumers interact with traditional TV.
Today, from an advertising perspective, HbbTV is most commonly used for SwitchIn ad units, a suite of products that supplement the existing content on the screen by overlaying ads on top of, or wrapping ads around, the underlying content. Dynamic Ad Insertion (and replacement) within linear TV broadcasts is the next step in technology development that will drive growth in the ad dollars flowing into addressable TV.
If you’re interested in leveraging ATV in the European market to improve relevance by hitting the right target group, at the right time with the right creative, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us.
This article was written by Eric Shiffman, product marketing manager at SpotX.